Tormented in the Premier by anyone, Liverpool entered the Champions League like someone treading on a swamp. Leipzig brought together a bag of dangers: suffocating pressure, subversive character, and an organization as effective as it was unpredictable. The tie, however, revealed the double nature of the current English champion, good by day and bad at night, unbearable for anyone who crosses him in a tournament in which he has historically felt at home. Regardless of conjunctural circumstances, the 4-0 aggregate round trip certifies the difference in category between the opponents.
Liverpool went to the Puskas Arena in Budapest to defend the 0-2 of the first leg and to rehabilitate themselves. After three defeats in the last four Premier games, the players needed a change of scene to encourage a change in mores. The session against Leipzig began by showing that with Fabinho and Thiago in midfield stabilization is easier. With the Brazilian acting as a midfielder and the Spaniard spreading out ahead to speed up the game, the rest of the squad entered the game almost without realizing that they had just been going through a crisis.
LiverpoolAlisson, Ozan Kabak, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Nathaniel Phillips, A. Robertson (Konstantinos Tsimikas, min. 89), Fabinho, Wijnaldum (Milner, min. 81), Thiago (Naby Keita, min. 71), Salah , Diogo Jota (Divock Origi, min. 70) and Mane (Oxlade-Chamberlain, min. 89) RB Leipzig Gulacsi, Lukas Klostermann, Nordi Mukiele, Dayotchanculle Upamecano, Tyler Adams, M. Sabitzer, Dani Olmo (Amadou Haidara, min. 71 ), Kevin Kampl (Alexander Syrloth, min. 45), Nkunku, Forsberg (Justin Kluivert, min. 59) and Yussuf Poulsen (Hwang Hee-Chan, min. 59) Goals1-0 min. 69: Salah. 2-0 min. 73: Mane. Referee Clément Turpin
Fabinho and Wijnaldun led the assault on the supply lines between Olmo, Forsberg and Sabitzer, and from that interruption Leipzig lost the ball and the rhythm. The key to Nagelsmann's model, more than pressure, lies in the coordinated mobility of all footballers when they control the ball. Without that continuity, they lost faith. They became demoralized and began to miss passes. Prey for Thiago, who quickly enabled his attackers, exposing rival defenses to individual duels with Salah, Jota and Mané.
The first time was from Olmo. Alisson stopped her. Then the downpour broke out in the opposite area. Gulácsi stopped a header from Jota; Kampl poked in to thwart Salah's point-blank shot; Gulácsi prevailed in another one-on-one with Salah, and again took out his glove to deflect a shot from Jota. Leipzig's three center-backs had no respite,
Nagelsmann must have sensed such distress that after the break he changed the engine room: Hwang, Sorloth and Kluivert entered, and Kampl, Forsberg and Poulsen left. The jolt injected a point of energy. No further consequence was appreciated because the territorial domain continued to be Liverpool's, always guided by its three midfielders. Sporloth had just finished off the crossbar when Thiago found Mané with a clean pass and the Senegalese served Jota with the outside. The ball stopped between the center-backs and Jota waited for just the right moment to yield to Salah. The Egyptian adjusted the shot (1-0) before Mané, on the next play, passed his bill (2-0) .